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Full text of "The Gay Genius"

3i8                           THE GAY GENIUS

were two orange trees in his orchard that he had planted himself. His
best view was towards the north where the river hugged the foot of the
mountain as it wound its way towards the city. Near-by on the bank,
there was a favourite place for fishing where he could play by the water
all morning without being aware of the passing of time.                     j

He called for the blessing of the gods and prayed that the farmers'
granaries might always be full and there might be no storms upon the
sea. With the clean air of the country, the people would be always in
good health, and with good crops, the wine of Mrs. Lin could always be
obtained on credit. The song ended with a prayer of blessing on all his
friends, that they might enjoy good luck and long life.

But deep personal sorrow now befell Su Tungpo. On July 5, 1095,
before their new house was completed, Chaoyun died of a kind of
epidemic disease. This was a malarial region, and she could have died
of malaria. Su's son Kuo was away from home getting lumber for the"
new house, and she was not buried till August 3, A devout Buddhist,
she said a Buddhist gatha (verse) from the Diamond Sutra before she
drew her last breath.

"This earthly life may be likened to a dream,
It may be likened to a bubble;
It may be likened to the dew and lightning.
For all sentient life must be so regarded."

In accordance with her wish, she was buried at the foothill around
the Feng Lake, west of the city, near a pagoda and several Buddhist
temples. Behind the grave, mountain streams fell in cataracts ancj^
flowed into the lake. The grave was in a secluded recess where the hill
slope fell in different ridges, like the folds of a garment. Immediately
at the back was a great pine forest, and while standing at the grave, one
could see the top of the pagoda beyond the ridge on the west. To the
right and left, within a distance of two-thirds of a mile, lay the big
temples, and visitors could hear the temple bells at dusk, and the song
of the pine winds. The monks of the neighbouring temples put up the
money to build a pavilion in her honour on top of the grave.

Three days after her burial, on August 6, there was a heavy rain-storm
at night, and on the following day the farmers saw giant footprints in
the neighbourhood of the grave. The belief was that some Buddhist
saint had come to accompany Chaoyun's spirit on her voyage to
Western Heaven. On August 9, there was to be a mass in the night,
and before the ceremony, Su Tungpo and his son personally went to
inspect the saint's footprints.

Su Tungpo's love for Chaoyun was recorded not only in the epitaph
but also in two poems that he wrote shortly after her death. The poem